Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tai Chi Musings

(from the blog....
(click image to enlarge)
Form tuition

A few people have said that they particularly enjoy whole-class form tuition. This approach will be used on occasion but is not a sound teaching method as a general rule. Whilst it gives an overall sense of the sequence, it is not detailed enough. And for a new starter it is useless. If you are near the front, you see more, but near the back you are copying the line in front of you. This is Chinese whispers. If you can't see, you turn to look and in so doing, distort the form.

Also, there's the copying... You should never lean on your teacher and use them as a prop - it shows a weakness of character and is a sure sign that you don't really know the sequence. A copier is not necessarily learning.

Classes need to be broken into small groups that address a segment in detail, with one or two people wandering around offering personal corrections (when applicable). Most of your form time should be spent working it through for yourself. That way, it becomes your own form.

Great ultimate?
‘Tai chi chuan’ is sometimes translated to mean ‘Great Ultimate Fist’ and some people claim that this represents the superior status of the art. The term ‘great ultimate’ refers to the yin yang principle rather than fighting prowess.

No martial art can reasonably claim to be superior or inferior to another, and should only be assessed in respect to what the art sets out to do. How effectively does it perform its intended purpose? What are the pros and cons?When all values differ, how can you compare?Tai chi claims to offer health and self defence.

It also is said to be 'easy'. Assess tai chi on this basis.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

(click on image to enlarge that jellow map of....hmmm...what IS that a map of?)
My friend Piltdown Man ( complaing about how the little neighbourhoods in New Orleans were wiped out...that they have now lost so much. The small neighbourhoods which created NOLA Jazz, crab gumbo, blackened catfish... There are blogs from people ( who are IN New Orleans, and their attutude is a little different! Most seem to feel that some of the slums which got wiped out are better off gone. That possibly (horrible thought coming...brace yourself...) that people really didn't want to live there. And that possibly the fine jazz and good food had been replaced by gangsta violence, methamphetamine and crack use, and a crushing poverty.

He felt that the suburbs were soul-less, gasoline hungry carbon copy environments. Hard to argue with that. And gosh knows...when the great gasoline crunch comes, the suburbs will be mighty expensive places to raise your kids! I have always loved the idea of small neighbourhoods, villages in the big city so to speak. I have watched them change character over the years...usually they seem to go upward, but occasionally a nice little neighbourhood goes to hell in a handbasket. Below is the comment I put on Pilt's blog....

There is a perception that any nice little neighbourhood will turn into an isolated devalued introspective ghetto with little warning. Example...I watched a 9th ward resident complaining bitterly about how "those unemployed Vietnamese were coming in, cooking their fish heads and taking jobs away from po blacks." A telling example! So, people move the suburbs where housing prices are always on an upward curve, and it never becomes ghettoized. Example, Toronto's Chinatown. Example, Ottawa's Marconi road (the Italian Quarter if you will). People growing up in these tight little communities don't think of them as particularly dynamic...they think of them as restrictive, insular, run by moustache Pete's and old women who cook cabbage all day. Next thing you know, a couple of Pathans have moved in next door, and its "T'hell wit dis, Marta, we're going to the suburbs. Nice thing about the 'burbs is that it is always the don't get a bunch of "those people" moving in to threaten your daughters. You have a nice yard, a dog, 2.5 children, and the local shopping mall which will act as a surrogate village to raise your kids. How you gonna turn that around?

Thats a fair and valid question. How DO you turn it around? How do you bring the jazz and the blackened catfish back to a neighbourhood full of MacDonalds and Walmarts?